According to a study carried out in May this year by CricViz, a cricket analytics firm, the standard of cricket in Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) is below that of an average T20 international match, reports Times of India.
According to the report, IPL sets the highest standard of T20 cricket -– higher than any other franchise league and much higher than an average T20 international played between Full ICC Member Nations.
The analysis shows BPL as ranking seventh among eight franchise leagues and falling below that of T20 international average.
The research methodology
The methodology used is that they study players who have players who have played in various tournaments across the world and then assess how their performances have varied from league to league.
So, if a batsman does very well in the Big Bash, but then struggles in the IPL, then by inference, the cricket played in the IPL is of superior quality than in the BBL.
Similarly if a player who does well consistently in the Bangladesh Premier League, but has struggled in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), then CPL is of a higher standard.
They keep adding more and more players to their study and the pattern that emerges becomes more and more consistent.
The model used has data of 4500 players factored in.
What the study shows
The study shows that if an average T20 international player is taken from an average T20 international match and if is put in an average IPL game, he would perform 0.04 runs per ball worse than he would in that average T20I.
A graphic prepared by CricViz shows that the cricket played in the IPL, MSL (Mzansi Super League), CPL, Pakistan Super League (PSL) and Big Bash League (BBL) is of a higher quality than that in an average international T20 match, with the IPL being of the highest standard.
The same graphic shows that T20 Blast in England, the BPL, and the Super Smash in New Zealand produce cricket whose quality is inferior to that of an average T20 international match.
CricViz's study showed that if a player was taken from an average T20 international match and put in the BPL, he would perform 0.02 runs per ball better than they would in that average T20I.
The data used for the Mzansi Super League is for one season only and the small sample size could perhaps be a reason for its high ranking.
Are Franchise leagues really better than T20 internationals?
Perhaps the biggest shock in this analysis is that international cricket is not the highest benchmark of T20 cricket.
What can help understand this better is the fact, as explained by CricViz analysts, that for international cricket, teams can only pick players who are citizens of that particular country.
This is not something that binds T20 franchise based leagues. They can pick players from across the world, depending on what their weak areas are. If the domestic players available to them are sufficient for say their batting department, but they are on the weaker side when it comes to the bowling front, the team can pick/buy foreign bowlers, something country teams can't do.
And then there are countries, whose players prefer T20 leagues over international duty. And that further weakens their domestic player pool.